One more for the mantel

SHIPPENSBURG — Penn Cambria High School’s Jadyn Tiracave has been throwing the javelin for a long time, and she’s not ashamed to admit that she still hasn’t figured out all the nuances of success in the event.

“You’d think after so many years how can you mess something up or not do good at this. It’s crazy how it is,” Tiracave said. “Some days, you’re physically OK, but your mental game isn’t there. Some days, your mental game is there, but you can’t put it all together physically.

“It’s really confusing, honestly, because you should be able to do it after doing it over and over and over for years.”

Tiracave, though, still is well ahead of most in the game. The Lady Panther senior came to the PIAA Track and Field Championships having reached the medal stand two straight years, and she capped her scholastic career with a third state medal, taking sixth in the event in Class 2A.

Tiracave was the only girl from the Altoona Mirror coverage area to capture a medal on Friday’s first day of competition at a breezy, chilly and sometimes rainy Seth Grove Stadium on the campus of Shippensburg University. Half the field events were held on Friday, with finals in the rest along with all the track races to be contested today — the Central Cambria girls are seeded first in the 3200-meter relay and will try for a second straight gold medal this morning after winning their preliminary race.

Tiracave, who finished fifth as a sophomore and seventh as a junior, fired the javeling 130 feet, 11 inches to earn a third straight trip to the medal stand.

“It’s always great to be here. It’s my senior year, my last trip here as a high schooler,” Tiracave said. “I didn’t do as well as I’d have liked to (on Friday). I had higher goals. But, to podium at states, how can you say you’re not happy.”

Tiracave was hoping to surpass the 140-11 she threw as a sophomore. Javelin, however, is a tough event with a lot of moving parts. Repeating form is just one aspect to doing it well.

“I had a lot of confidence coming in,” Tiracave said. “My mental game was strong, and that’s the most important part. Mentally, I had it. As far as my form goes, I just couldn’t put it all together into one throw.”

Tiracave said that when she would get one aspect down, another would betray her. When she would fix that, something out wasn’t quite right.

She said, though, she was looking ahead, not back. She’ll begin throwing for the Naval Academy next school year.

“I was hoping for a personal best, but I’m happy, because my track career’s not over yet,” Tiracave said. “I have four more years to go.”

Tiracave’s friend and rival over the years, Britt Krug of Bishop Carroll, had a best throw of 123-1, placing her 13th and outside of the medals.

On the track, the Central Cambria four-by-800 relay — seeded first in Class 2A — actually exceeded its expectations in the preliminaries, winning its heat by posting the only sub-10-minute time in its, 9 minutes, 57.20 seconds.

Sydney Gilkey took the lead midway through the opening leg and the Lady Devils never trailed from there.

“We felt really good today. We were looking to get first or maybe second in our heat. We were just saying we felt really great with our times. We didn’t feel we were going as fast as we actually were,” Gilkey said. “We just felt really good about (winning) and how we ran, and we’re excited to see what we can do (in the finals).”

The only senior on the team, Gilkey handed off to Lexi Peterman, with Paige Wess and McKenna Hayward running the second half of the relay.

Lake-Lehman recorded the best time in the class, 9:49.31, and four other teams in the other heat notched faster times than Central Cambria on the opening day. The Lady Devils ran a 9:32.08 at the District 6 meet to earn the first seed, and only three other teams ran under 9:40 at their respective district meets.

“It’s a little bit of pressure, but that helped us to practice harder and want this a little more,” Gilkey said.

Peterman, Wess and Hayward along with Carly Kaschalk are in the final eight in the 1600 relay, too, meaning the Lady Devils are assured at least one medal so long as they aren’t disqualified today. The Lady Devils’ four-by-400 ran 4:04.69, second in their heat to District 6 rival Marion Center.

Area sprinters Ali Wyland of Hollidaysburg and Alyssa Martinazzi of Bishop Carroll enter today’s competition still in the hunt to medals, as both qualified for the semifinals in the 100 meters, Wyland in 3A and Martinazzi in 2A.

Wyland was third in her prelim with a time of 12.38. The third-place finish automatically sent on.

Martinazzi qualified by running a 12.88, garnering one of four at-large berths.

Those events will be the sole focus for both, as each were unable to punch their tickets to today’s rounds in the 200 dash and 400 relay.

Wyland’s 25.81 in the 200 actually was just a hundredth of a second behind Girls’ High’s Ni’Asia Williams for the 16th and final berth in the 3A semifinals. The Hollidaysburg four-by-100 relay that Wyland anchors was fifth in its trail with a time of 49.59, actually a tenth of a second faster than it ran at the District 6 Class 3A meet. Wyland’s teammates were Mandy Sky, Darcie Frazier and Lexi Wagner.

Finishing in 26.92, Martinazzi was nine-hundredths of a second from placing third and advancing in the Class 2A 200.

Bishop Carroll’s 400 relay team of Martinazzi, Maddie Murphy, Alexa Dunchack and Kate Yahner didn’t get to run; the Lady Huskies were disqualified because one of their team members wasn’t wearing a regulation uniform.

Martinazzi also finished in 13th place in the long jump, where her farthest distance was 16-5.5.

Half of the meet’s field finals were contested on Friday. Cambria Heights’ Madison Kline just missed a medal in the Class 2A high jump, finishing tied for ninth after achieving 5 feet, 2 inches. Everett’s Stefanie Ketterman and Penn Cambria’s Lauren Michina were part of a tie for 18th, each going out after making 4-10.

Ketterman also competed in the long jump, where her distance of 15-3.5 placed her 27th.

In the Class 2A discus, Bishop Guilfoyle’s Anna Audley finished 12th, her best distance 113-9. Krug was 26th at 97-6.

Altoona’s Olivia Hudson was 16th in the Class 3A triple jump, where she went 35-10.25 on her first attempt.

Several area girls were eliminated from medal contention in Friday’s track prelims.

Juniata Valley’s Taylor Leidy ran an 18.23 in the Class 2A 100 hurdles, placing seventh in her heat.

Northern Bedford’s Whitley Furry bettered her time at districts by almost 3 seconds in taking 11th in her heat of the mile, clocking 5:30.71.

Everett’s Kaitlyn Maxwell was unable to make the cutoff in the Class 2A 400, although her 59.71 circuit trimmed seven-tenths of a second from her time at the District 5 meet.

Kaschalk posted a time of 48.70 in the Class 2A 300 hurdle trials, which had her fifth in her heat.

Portage’s Kasey Chobany completed the 800 meters in 2:31.68. That was good for ninth in her preliminary heat.